“What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”- Albert Pine
The Talmud states that the righteous continue to live even after death, while the evil person is considered dead even while he is walking amongst us. The Ohr Hachayim (Leviticus 4:2) explains the metaphysical mechanics of the paradox of the still-living righteous that have passed away versus the live evil personalities that the Talmud labels as dead.
It all has to do with the spirit. The spirit is the immortal component of man that animates his being. However, the spirit is only “alive” if it does good. A spirit that pursues evil shrivels up and eventually “dies.” The evil person may be technically alive, but his spirit has long ceased to exist. Hence from a Talmudic point-of-view, the evil person is truly dead.
However, the converse is also true. A spirit that pursues good remains alive long after the body is gone. That spirit remains, and as it is immortal it exists, by definition, forever.
To the memory of Tila Tocker, may her memory be blessed, who passed away this Wednesday at the age of 94. She was the mother of Yossi and Sammy Tocker, grandmother of my wife Tamara and her brother Ilan and great-grandmother to our respective children. She was born in Germany and fled the night of the Krystalnacht to Israel. After the establishment of the State of Israel, she and her husband, Jacob Tocker, eventually made their home in Washington Heights, NY. She was an incredible woman and will be greatly missed. Her immortality touches us all.